Dr Michelle Lockley

Dr Lockley is a Medical Oncologist. She completed her PhD in oncolytic viral therapies in ovarian cancer at the Barts Cancer Institute and subsequently held a NIHR Clinical Lectureship at the University of Cambridge. Dr Lockley is currently a Reader in Molecular Oncology at Queen Mary University of London and Deputy Lead for the Centre for Molecular Oncology at Barts Cancer Institute. She holds a CRUK Advanced Clinician Scientist Fellowship.

Dr Lockley aims to discover new treatments for women with ovarian cancer. Women with all types of ovarian cancer die with disease that is resistant to chemotherapy and so Dr Lockley and her team focus on tackling this intractable clinical challenge. In high grade serous cancer (the most common subtype) chemotherapy resistance evolves progressively following sequential chemotherapy treatment. Other less common histological subtypes (eg clear cell) are characterised by innate chemotherapy resistance. The Lockley team have created a range of genetically accurate paired chemotherapy-sensitive and chemotherapy-resistant cell lines and xenografts. They are also currently generating new, medium-throughput 3D co-cultures to model the evolution of treatment resistance in the context of a tunable tumour micro-environment. These endeavours are enabled by the Barts Gynae Tissue Bank, which Dr Lockley set up and continues to lead. This repository of tissues and clinical data that are kindly donated by Dr Lockley’s patients, ensures that the translational research conducted by Dr Lockley and her collaborators reflects the group of patients she treats.

Dr Lockley has previously shown that chemotherapy resistance is associated with enhanced sensitivity to oncolytic viruses. She now aims to improve the utility of these biological agents, whose clinical potential has so far been limited by inflammatory toxicity. Dr Lockley previously discovered a novel approach to reducing these toxicities by inhibition of β3 integrin, a cell surface signalling and adhesion protein, without compromising anticancer activity. She now aims to further improve viral anti-cancer efficacy through combination with other therapies. Dr Lockley has recently used a drug repurposing approach to discover several existing compounds that augment the anticancer activity of oncolytic viruses. She is currently investigating the mechanisms underpinning this synergy as a prelude to clinical investigation of these novel drug/virus combinations.